I headed to the western edge of Port Phillip Bay to North Geelong combing antique stores when I spotted the tasteful Federal Woollen Mills’ main building. The brick factory was constructed by the first Australian Labour Government in 1915 and offered better working conditions for factory employees. Workers were responsible for scouring, carding, dyeing, spinning and weaving Australian wool into cloth using the mill’s own power plant.
During the First World War the mills supplied army uniforms and blankets to Australian soldiers. After the war, the factory switched to making cloth and increased production when World War 11 broke out. Before closing down in 2001, it even produced cloth for the first Qantas 747s.
In 2013 work began to restore the site and was completed three years later. I wandered through the large complex that consisted of small companies that occupied various sections of the original mills. Because it was Saturday, most were closed so I could only explore the exterior.